The stirring, little-known story of the forerunners to today's Special Forces.
The OSSOffice of Strategic Servicescreated under the command of William Donovan, has been celebrated for its cloak-and-dagger operations during World War II and as the precursor of the CIA. As the "Oh So Social," it has also been portrayed as a club for the well-connected before, during, and after the war. Donovan's Devils tells the story of a different OSS, that of ordinary soldiers, recruited from among first- and second-generation immigrants, who volunteered for dangerous duty behind enemy lines and risked their lives in Italy, France, the Balkans, and elsewhere in Europe. Organized into Operational Groups, they infiltrated into enemy territory by air or sea and operated for days, weeks, or months hundreds of miles from the closest Allied troops. They performed sabotage, organized native resistance, and rescued downed airmen, nurses, and prisoners of war. Their enemy showed them no mercy, and sometimes their closest friends betrayed them. They were the precursors to today's Special Forces operators.
Based on declassified OSS records, personal collections, and oral histories of participants from both sides of the conflict, Donovan's Devils provides the most comprehensive account to date of the Operational Group activities, including a detailed narrative of the ill-fated Ginny mission, which resulted in the one of the OSS's gravest losses of the war.
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About the Author
Albert Lulushi, a native of Albania, fled to the West in 1990 and moved to the US in 1991. He built a successful career as an information technology entrepreneur working with US government agencies and Fortune 500 companies. He has assisted the US in conducting relations with Albania and Kosovo. Mr. Lulushi is the author of Operation Valuable Fiend: The CIA’s First Paramilitary Strike Against the Iron Curtain , which was a History Book Club and Military History Book Club selection. He lives in Oakton, Virginia.
Table of Contents
List of Maps and Documents xi
List of Acronyms xvii
1 Office of Strategic Services 13
2 Irregular Warfare in the Early Years of World War II 39
3 The OSS Operational Groups 61
4 Special Operations in the Western Mediterranean 75
5 Rescuing Escaped Prisoners of War 102
6 Operations from Corsica 115
7 The Ill-Fated Ginny Mission 129
8 Operational Groups in France 151
9 Americans in Vercors 166
10 Mission Walla Walla in Italy 190
11 Mission Mangosteen-Chrysler 203
12 Rescue Missions in the Balkans 217
13 Mission Peedee-Roanoke 238
14 OSS Investigations into War Crimes 267
15 Swift Justice for the Ginny Men 281
16 No Justice for Major Holohan 309